Herman Thomas Harden Jr. (who went by Tommy Harden) was born on July 28, 1919, in the town of Windsor in Bertie County, N.C., to Herman T. Harden, Sr. and Evelyn Pate Harden. By 1930, the Harden family was living in Windsor, N.C., and Herman Sarden Sr. as a mechanic at an automobile garage.
At the time of his federal draft registration for World War II, Harden was working for his father. Herman Harden Jr. was inducted for military service in WWII on February 6, 1942, at Fort Bragg, N.C. He served in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II as a paratrooper. He was among those who parachuted a few miles inland from the Normandy Coast during the D-Day invasion in June 1944. Harden received the Purple Heart after being wounded in combat.
After the war, Herman Harden Jr. married Evelyn Rose Pate in Wayne County, N.C., on February 25, 1946. He would come to own and operate Harden Motor Company in Windsor, N.C., which was a Ford motor car dealership. He also was a farmer. Herman T. Harden Jr. died on February 10, 2001, in Morehead City, N.C., from injuries received in an auto mobile accident.